June 23, 2022 will be considered as a historic day for the customs brokers, freight forwarders and the entire logistics industry in India for receiving the recognition with awards from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce, Government of India.
India’s first-ever logistics excellence awards were presented in a glittering evening function followed by networking dinner. The Awards were presented by the Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal along with the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash Sharma.
The event was also attended by Anurag Jain, Secretary of the DPIIT; Amrit Lal Meena, Special Secretary Logistics; Surendra Ahirwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce; Shankar Shinde, Chairman Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Associations in India (FFFAI); AV Vijayakumar, Immediate Past Chairman, FFFAI; Shantanu Bhadkamkar, Past Chairman, FFFAI and several other dignitaries along with the recipients of the awards.
Addressing the gathering, Goyal appreciated the role played by the logistics sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the resilient and efficient supply chains developed by the operators in the logistics sector helped India overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, played key role in accelerating the economic growth of the country post Covid period and supported the growth in trade seen over the last two years.
Goyal acknowledged the contributions of Private Sector driving change and innovation in the Logistics. He further added that the focus of Logistics Excellence Awards has been promoting innovative ideas, technology adaptation and skill development, instead of volume of business.
Going forward, Goyal observed that a separate category of awards should be created for MSMEs in the logistics sector given the role played by them. In addition, contribution of field workers of customs house agents and customs officials will also be honoured to encourage more ethical practices and trade facilitation.
The Commerce and Industry Minister urged the industry to work with the government to bring down the logistics cost from 12-14% to 7-8% as prevailing in the developed countries. He stated that the Ministry of Commerce is working for finding out the prevailing item wise logistics cost with an objective to bring it down.
Goyal emphasised that the expansion of infra spending from Rs 2.5 lakh crore to Rs 7.5 lakh crore and PM Gati Shakti will benefit the logistics sector most with investment across roads, highways, ports, airports, multi-modal terminals, etc. Goyal said that GatiShakti will help in efficient planning and implementation, thereby ensuring that last-mile connectivity related issues are not there.
With 169 entries and 12 categories for awards in its first edition, the Ministry of Commerce and Industries undertook a year-long process of identifying, categorising, and selecting qualified applications. An Expert Screening Committee of 18 diverse experts and a National Jury of nine senior dignitaries was formed to make the final deliberations.
The jury members included government officials, industry representatives and experts to select the Award Winners through rigorous process consisted of both Govt and Private players and experts. Shankar Shinde, AV Vijayakumar and Shantanu Bhadkamkar were also the members of the above-mentioned Expert Screening Committee from the private sector.
The Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Som Parkash Sharma said that the availability of cost-effective logistics is critical for growth of the Industries and Indian Economy and that adoption of technologies and upgradation of skill levels of human resources engaged in the sector is a must.
Anurag Jain, Secretary of the DPIIT, acknowledging the excellence portrayed by the logistics sector, emphasised that GatiShakti, Atmanirbhar Bharat, driven by many MSME and startups of the country, make the logistics sector very crucial to India’s economic ambitions.
In addition to the Logistics Ease Across Different States (LEADS) report that measures that appreciates the endeavours of state governments, the Logistics Excellence Awards will continue to be an annual exercise recognising excellence in logistics with the private sector in India.
Speaking on the occasion, Shinde highlighted the significant role being played by FFFAI members (more than 6500) that include customs brokers/freight forwarders and other/allied logistics service providers from across the country. He appreciated the initiatives taken by the DPIIT to recognise in a different way.
According to him, this much needed recognition would tremendously boost the logistics sector stakeholders who are working 24×7 to move cargo even in difficult times like COVID pandemic or any other disaster as frontline warriors. They are also working together with the government of India to bring down the logistics cost as compared to international level. He congratulated all the winners and participants of the Logistics Excellence Awards and expected more participation in the nomination process for these prestigious Awards to be given every year.
Bhadkamkar highlighted the Prime Minister of India’s emphasis on resilient logistics and supply chain supported by multimodal connectivity to keep the country’s economy growing at a faster pace.
“We have now realised that if the country’s economy has to grow, physical exports have to grow substantially apart from service exports or IT exports. And, for that logistics sector has to be strengthened with due importance and recognition,” he said.
In his opinion, the pioneering initiative of recognising the logistics practitioners with conferring Awards has already created excitement among the logistics industry people across the world.